You could get this extra flexibility by opting to be on PAYG rather than traditional Pay As You Go. All you need is a Smart prepayment meter and a bank card.
Not sure if your meter is a Smart prepayment version?
Well, if you top up your energy instead of paying by monthly Direct Debit, you’ve got a prepayment meter. And if it has an IHD (In-Home Display), it’s probably a Smart Meter.
If you’re on traditional Pay As You Go (PAYG) with an old dumb meter, but you’ve got a bank card and you’d like to know more about changing to a Smart Meter, look through this section to see if it would suit you. You can also discover the differences between traditional PAYG and smarter PAYG
The extra benefits of PAYG
PAYG makes it easy to top up your electricity meters whenever you want, however you like. You can do it by phone (mobile or landline), by text, online or through our Symbio Apps.
You could also set up automatic payments from your card to top up your energy credit on the same day each month. Or make a payment whenever your credit falls to a given level, so you’re never in danger of running out of gas or electricity.
PAYG lets you do plenty of other things too, like to check how long it is before you next need to top up – or setting text or email alerts if your credit is running low.
Smart PAYG Standard or Smart PAYG+ – what’s the difference?
We offer you two ways to use your smart meter with Pay As You Go: Smart PAYG Standard or Smart PAYG+. Whichever you choose, you’ll stay on the plan you signed up to, and you’ll get a state-of-the-art smart meter that automatically logs every top-up you make.
With Smart PAYG+ you use a single card to top up both your electricity meter. You can still top up by going to a PayPoint. All you need is a bank card and email address.
With Smart PAYG+ you can also:
- Use our OVO Energy app to see how long you’ve got until you next need to top up – so there’s no need to go to your meter to find out.
- Set rolling top-ups – you can schedule automatic card payments to top up your credit on a regular date.
- Set auto top-ups so payments go out when your credit falls to a certain level, to make sure you never go off supply unexpectedly.
- Get reminders to alert you by text or email when your credit is running low.
- There’s 24 hours e-credit on each meter in case you run out.
There’s no need to have In-Home Display (IHD) with PAYG+, as you can manage your costs and usage on your own.
Don’t have a bank card or email address? Then choose Smart PAYG Standard and you can use a prepayment card per meter to top up at your local PayPoint.
- We’ll give you a free smart meter installation and a handy In-Home Display (IHD) to help you see how much energy you’re using, and when. See how much credit you have left, and set yourself targets according to £, CO2 or kWh. There are LEDs which you can set to flash red, yellow and green according to how much energy you’re using at that moment.
- You can go to any PayPoint to top up.
- Top-ups will go onto your meters automatically, so you don’t need to put the card or key into the meter.
- There’s £5 emergency credit on each meter in case you run out.
What happens to my smart meter when I’m switching away from Symbio Energy?
It’ll go into ‘credit mode’ for a short while and you won’t be able to top up. However, you’ll still get your energy as normal. When you’re in ‘credit mode’, you won’t be able to use Symbio credit anymore. So make sure you use it up before it happens, around your switch date. If you leave money on your meter, you’ll need to ask us for a refund (see below). ‘Credit mode’ means you’re using up credit from your new supplier. So you’ll need to pay for it when your meter goes back to normal (see below). Once you’ve switched, you’ll need to get in touch with your new supplier to pay for the energy you’ve used in ‘credit mode’. They might give you several options:
- Ask for a one-off payment.
- Suggest a payment plan so it’s split into smaller payments.
- Allow you to pay it back gradually through your meter.
Asking Symbio for a refund
If your meter has gone into ‘credit mode’ and you’ve still got Symbio credit left, you will need to Call us on 0800 206 2330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Tell us you need a refund now you’ve switched. We’ll check our system for the exact amount to refund (this’ll take a day to process). We’ll send you a cheque (it’ll usually arrive within 15 days). If you’re moving home, make sure you tell us your new address so your cheque goes to the right house.
Once you have switched, your new supplier will tell you how to top up and put your smart meter back to normal. Please recycle our Smart payment card(s) or throw them away as you won’t be able to use them with your new supplier.
What happens if I have a PAYG smart meter and I move home?
If you’re leaving your current home, please contact us on the day you move out. Call us on 0800 206 2330 – we’re around Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. We’ll need to know your moving date and new address, plus details of the new owner or tenant.
If you have any outstanding debt on your account, you’ll need to pay it off. When you call to tell us about your move, we’ll explain your options and help you decide on the best way forward.
What happens if my smart meter runs out of credit?
If you’re about to run out of credit for electricity your smart meter can give you plenty of warning.You can set alerts in your In-Home Display (IHD) to let you know when your credit’s getting low.
Of course your first step should be to top up your credit – by visiting a PayPoint. You can also easily set up an auto top-up, to make sure you never run out of credit.
However, if for some reason you simply can’t top up right away, you may need to access your emergency credit option.
With Smart PAYG+ this will happen automatically. You’ll then receive a text or email to tell you when your supply will disconnect if you don’t top up with enough credit.
If you’re on Smart PAYG Standard you can activate your emergency credit either through your IHD or by using your smart Meter keypad.
Simply press the ‘E-Credit’ button to get your emergency credit.
How much of my PAYG credit will go towards repaying my debt?
If you’re in debt to us, and you agree to pay it back through your PAYG meter, we’ll take some of your credit towards repaying your debt each time you top up. Before we add any debt to your meter, we’ll discuss how much you can afford to repay, how often you can make repayments, and how long it could take you to clear your debt.
If you’re on income support or a low income, we’ll take that into account when we agree the repayment amount with you. However, if we can’t reach you to talk about it, we’ll set a rate we believe you can afford to repay, based on what you’ve told us about yourself and your home.
Once we’ve agreed a regular payment with you, we’ll simply take that amount from the credit on your meter.
So the credit on your meter will fall by:
- The amount of energy you’ve used.
- Our daily standing charge.
- Your agreed debt repayment.
It will rise by the amounts you top up.
Even if you’re away from home and not using any energy, you still need to make sure there’s enough credit in your meters to cover your standing charge and debt repayments. Otherwise you might come back to find you’ve run out of electricity.
If you ever feel uncomfortable about the repayment amount we’re taking, get in touch and we’ll do all we can to help. You can call us on 0800 206 2330 – we’re around Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.
How do I read my smart meter screen?
Just occasionally, your smart devices won’t communicate with each other either – which means your PayPoint top-ups won’t show on your In-Home Display (IHD). If so, you’ll need to know your way around your smart meter display screen.
Spotting the right symbols
Smart meters are designed to work all over the world, and with a range of energy systems, so there are some symbols you can simply ignore – such as the € sign for euros.
You can tell which symbols apply to you and your smart meter, because they’re black, while the ones that aren’t relevant to you will look grey.
Here’s an example of a smart meter screen.
- If you have a Feed-In Tariff, these symbols show whether you’re currently importing or exporting electricity.
- This tells you whether your energy is ON, OFF or READY. The plug symbol refers to your electricity, and the flame is gas. In this illustration, the plug is black while the flame is grey, so the information refers to electricity. If your screen shows OFF or READY, your meter’s off supply, so you need to wake it up and get it back on supply.
- If you can see this envelope, it means we’ve sent you a message – possibly to let you know you’re low on credit, or alert you to a price change. This is only relevant if you’re on Smart PAYG Standard and have an IHD – in which case, if you see the envelope icon, check your IHD for the message.
- This tells you which unit of energy you’re looking at – kWH (kilowatt hours) is electricity.
- HAN stands for home area network. This is the network that your smart meters use to communicate with each other, and with your IHD. The symbol on the screen shows that the meter has been set up to provide a HAN network, although it may not be communicating with other devices if it hasn’t yet been linked to them.
- These shapes become letters or numbers, to give you messages or show you amounts, such as how much energy you’ve used, or how much credit you’ve got.
Although it’s perfectly acceptable to use your meter keypad and screen, if your smart devices carry on being unable to communicate with each other, there may be something wrong. If so, please get in touch to let us know. Kindly call us on 0800 206 2330 – we’re around Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.
What should I do if my smart meter goes off supply?
If your electricity has been disconnected, switch off all electrical appliances at their wall sockets. Otherwise they could be damaged by a power surge when the electricity comes back on.
If your gas meter is off supply, switch off your boiler, any gas fires you’re using and any rings on your hob, and your gas oven if you’re using it. Otherwise gas could escape when your meter starts working again if any fires or pilot lights are unlit.
Once you’ve switched off your appliances, your next action depends on why your meter’s gone off supply. There are four possible reasons:
- It’s most likely to be because you’ve run out of credit – so you’ll need to top it up and reconnect it.
- If there’s been a power cut, the red light on the meter will be off, and you simply need to reconnect the meter.
- There may be an overload – if so, please follow the instructions further on in this article.
Or (but this is truly very unlikely) it might have developed a fault – if so, please let us know at once.
What’s so good about having a smart meter with a PAYG plan?
If you’re paying for your electricity on a Pay as you go (PAYG) plan, you’re probably keen to spend as little as possible on your energy. Together, a smart meter and a PAYG plan let you keep a close watch on both the amount of money you’re spending and the amount of energy you’re actually using, so you’re always fully informed.
Take control of your spending with Smart PAYG+
With our Smart PAYG+ plans you will:
- Always be aware of exactly how much you’re spending, helping you to budget more easily and save money on energy.
- Enjoy the freedom and ease of topping up anytime, anywhere. You can top up at any PayPoint outlet.
Because you pay for your energy as you go and top up whenever you need to, you can see exactly how much you’re spending each day or week, according to whether you top up with small or large amounts.